Pinnacle Studio Plus has been around a long time, and every version gets better. In fact, one might argue that other packages targeting the consumer market have become better by competing with Studio.

The product follows an intuitive three step process: Capture, Edit, and Make Movie. ‘Capture’ is used to import video from a camcorder. In the ‘Edit’ step, the user creates the movie by dragging and dropping clips onto the bottom half of the screen. The fact that half the screen is used makes it much easier to assemble a larger number of clips — 24 are visible at a time. Studio also offers a timeline view, as well as a third view consisting of a list of clips, along with their start, duration, and other information.

Pinnacle Studio Plus

Studio offers a few dozen ‘standard’ transitions that are included with the product, and hundreds of others that you can see but must purchase to use. For example, the ‘Marine Life’ transitions include some fun stuff, like clip A being eaten by a fish which then fades to clip B, and the set of transitions costs (US)$5. Pinnacle also sells volumes of clips — for example, the Marine Life transitions can also be purchased as part of the 400 transition Hollywood FX Volume 3 set for (US)$99.99.

You can easily add still photos and titles. Standard titles are included, while Premium titles are available for purchase, similar to how they handle ‘premium’ transitions. If you’re intending to create a DVD, you can also build the menus, again choosing from ‘Standard’ menus or purchasing sets of ‘Premium’ menus. In the final,‘Make Movie’ phase, Studio offers many of the same file and upload options as VideoSpin (Yahoo! Video, YouTube, portable devices, etc.) as well as the ability to burn to DVD, but it does not create Flash files.

Overall, Pinnacle Studio Plus is very easy to use, and offers a vast collection of transitions, titles, and DVD menus. I also tested it out by creating a family movie, and it was a fast, simple process. While I have some reservations about purchasing a product that constantly attempts to upsell throughout the creative process, it is possible to make a nice video without purchasing any of the premium content, and the low cost combined with easy of use makes Pinnacle Studio Plus 11 an attractive option.

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